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Eating is not just a necessary daily routine but a very sensual activity and a feast for the senses. When eating, all senses are activated at once: Your nose is exposed to the delicious smell; your fingers may feel the form and the texture of the food; your eyes cherish the arrangement and the colors of the various ingredients; your ears catch the sound of your biting into the food; and most importantly, your tongue experiences the main part – the taste. This page explores some basic ideas for enhancing the enjoyment of your other senses.



The appearance of food can be a major contribution to enjoyment. Arrange the food on the plate with the same care you would use in creating a work of art - balancing colors and forms in a harmonious arrangement. To show off the food and put everyone at ease about cleanliness, use bright white (or natural) lighting with pure white dishes and clear glasses.



The tongue recognises five basic flavors: salty, sweet, savoury, bitter and sour. One of the keys to a successful meal is to balance these, both within individual dishes and across different courses. It is usual to ready the palate with a cleansing neutral dish such as a consommé. Finish a formal meal with a sweet dessert, which customarily marks the psychological end of the event.



The most important sense in preparing and cooking food is the sense of smell. It adds subtlety to the experience, which the tongue itself cannot recognise. The smell of food being prepared is one of the greatest stimulators of appetite.



Think about the acoustic environment. Many meals in big restaurants are ruined because their surroundings are just too noisy. A shared meal should encourage conversation, and too much background noise can ruin that. If you're going to have background music, match the mood to the food.



Touch might be better described as "texture". The crumb of a baked good can be coarse or fine, the texture of one cut of meat may tend to be more tender or tough than another, and a family may prefer creamy smooth mashed potatoes or may enjoy them more with some lumps left in. The purpose of many techniques in cookery and baking is to allow the cook to control the texture of the finished product.



The temperature at which a food is served can affect the way it is experienced. Generally, sweet foods can be served cold (like ice cream), while for more subtle and aromatic foods a warmer temperature releases more of the flavor.